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Tortoise Lighting: Which is right for my tortoise?

By: Natalie Times Read: 208
Tortoise Lighting: Which is right for my tortoise?

Following on from our Tortoise Housing blog. Here we will look at the different lighting setups available, which you will need for your new setup and which you should definitely avoid.

Lighting (bulbs) we will not accept;

  • Any bulb under 60 watt - These cannot possibly reach 32-35 degrees, without being 6 inches or less from the tortoises back. This means that any heat given off, will only hit the tortoise and not spread across the roaming area as it should. 

  • UVA only bulbs - These do not provide any heat for the tortoise and only provides one half of the UV tortoise needs.

  • Halogen lighting - Again, these do not provide enough heat for a tortoise and though their boxes generally claim UVA, it is never to the level that a tortoise would need


Lighting (bulbs) we will accept;

  • All Mercury Vapour brands - If your table is under 3ft, you will require an 80 watt. For tables over 3ft, you will require 100 watt. We do not believe you will ever need 160 watt unless your table is 7ft or over, even then, you should ensure it is high enough that it creates a hot spot no hotter than 35 degrees Celcius.

  • A 60 watt spot bulb, no higher than 6-10 inches from the tortoise's back. - These must always be accompanied by a UV compact bulb or a UV Strip light, no higher than 6 inches from the tortoise's back (strips must be replaced every 3-6 months). NOT ACCEPTED IN TABLES OVER 2FT.



Lamps we will not accept;

  • Cheap plastic clamp lamps without a reflector - These tend to be long necked with a clamp on the bottom. These have a plastic holder, rather than ceramic, making them a huge fire risk. It will melt over time. The biggest giveaway is that not only will they be less than £20, they will normally be less than £10.

  • Anything which does not show the maximum wattage it will hold - This is another fire risk.

Lamps we will accept;

  • Any branded clamp lamp which has a dome reflector - These have; ratings, passed tests, ceramic holder, an indication of the max wattage they will hold. 

  • Unbranded clamp lamps will be accepted - So long as you are confident it has a ceramic holder and it has an indication of the max wattage.